Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Girl Called Anita

I have been asked often over the last few months, Why do you choose to pay for the education of girls in Nepal and India? There are so many reasons but hopefully this story will start explain why.
Due to the remoteness of many of the homes of the children who attend Demazong Academy they must board at the school . This means that they say at the school full time for 11 months of the year and would return home for 1 month’s holiday. If it is not possible to return home they may stay at the school all year in the care of the school’s headmaster  Pema and his wife, family and staff.  It is not unusual for a parent to send their child into the care of another,  trusting that they are getting an education without contact for months at a time. To our western way of thinking this is inconceivable but in Nepal and this remote part of India this is the sacrifice a family makes for an education. An educated child has the chance to get a better job and in turn a better life for both them, their family and community.
Anita, thanks to the sales of covers for back to school 2013 is our company’s second child to receive her education, board, food, uniforms and books for life. I have the privilege of calling Pema who runs the Demazong Academy in Sikkim, my Nepali Brother. When I wrote to him and said that we had started to set aside funds for a second child and that “I wanted a to find a child who’s life would be truly transformed by our sponsorship” this was his reply.

Myself & Pema
Hello Dear Sister,
I was very happy to hear you. Here we all are fine and well. We are preparing for the session. All the students and teachers are back after vacation. The construction of our new kitchen is done. We now need some plastic chairs for the dining hall.
Here I have the picture of Anita with her parents.  They are originally from Nepal. They came to Sikkim a long time back and were living in one of the remote area of South Sikkim. Two years back Anita was studying in Class one in one of the Government School , living with her parents.  One of the men came from Gangtok to meet her parents. He promised them that he will take Anita to Gangtok and send her to one of the good school there. Once Anita was taken to Gangtok they never came to meet her parents. Recently Anita’s parents have shifted near to our school. Her father often comes to me to help in some construction work.  One day he told me the story about his daughter Anita. Immediately I made a phone call to everyone who I know in Gangtok. After one week we came to know the address of that person. I manage some money for him and send him to Gangtok to bring his daughter back. He could not bring her back on that day. Later we came to know that she was locked inside and both the man and his wife went to work in office.  When her father went he found lock hanging outside the house and came back helplessly.  I felt that on Sunday all the government offices will remain closed and the man and his wife will be at home. So, I send him on Sunday for the second time and finally he met his daughter and brought her back home. Anita was never sent to school. They treated Anita as a servant and let her do all sort of domestic work.
 Anita has two younger sisters and one younger brother. Anita is the eldest in their family. Her parents have been requesting me to find sponsor for her. I feel she needs help.  I am very happy that you decided to help her.  In India thousands of such innocent children are being cheated and are send to work in hotels and even sold to brothels every day. I feel very sorry for these children.
Today I will call her parents and tell them this good news. I would like to thank you very much for giving hope and opportunity to her.
Looking forward to hear from you. Convey my love and wishes to your kids.
Pema from Sikkim
As Pema says, Anita’s story is not unique. This happens every day. But for now Anita is safe and free to go to school like any girl her age should be free to do.
If you’d like to read more or need a good cry, a wonderful book is Little Princes by Conor Grennan about child trafficking in Nepal.


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